Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation

The line between appreciation and exploitation
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In honor of the annual Coachella season’s commencement this past week, I’d like to once again highlight the discussion surrounding cultural appropriation. From bindis, through feathered head ornaments and dashikis, all the way to war paint, the festival’s fashion scene has it all. The issue here is not people being keen on sporting items of clothing or accessories that have symbolic connotations in certain cultures, but rather they, as members of a dominant group, often tending to exploit the heritage of marginalized ones without previous consideration.

One definition, as given by Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University, is, ‘’taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artefacts from someone else’s culture without permission. This can include unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.’’

More often than not, these appropriations come in the form of a passing fad, be it twerking when it was ‘in’ not as a result of a newly found appreciation and understanding of African-American culture, but due to a music video featuring Miley Cyrus adopting it as yet another sign of her path to self-discovery. Or when cornrows and dreadlocks are admired and requested simply because individuals with large public followings like the Kardashians or Katy Perry were seen wearing them, and not as, for example, a protest against the stigma which exists of these hairstyles being ‘unsanitary’ and ‘unprofessional’. For black people especially, cornrows and dreadlocks can act as an immediate rejection when applying for a job, whereas for white people they are seen as ‘edgy’ or ‘unique’.

Changing or even getting rid of oppressive actions that have made their way into everyday interactions is no easy task. The Coachella debate for one, is not about denying people of different cultures the use of aspects of one which is not their own, but about doing it without a thought. Diversity in society is an inherently good thing, but it is not achieved through only paying attention to certain cultures when it is suitable, or when it benefits an individual who has no experience being a member of an ostracized group. If you know you’re about to use a symbol or an element of a culture which is not your known, learning about the context and its history can be the first step in avoiding contributing to cultural appropriation.
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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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The Internet’s Infatuation With 'Soft Boys' Needs To Stop

Quick, (before he ghosts you), let me know if this boy sounds familiar!

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You know he exists. Your girlfriends have told you whisperings. He's lurking nearby. It's…the softboy. The one who civilly slides into your DMs because he would love to hear your thoughts on philosophy, literature, or his vinyl collection.

Okay, sorry, backing up. In order to understand what a softboy is, you must know some history. Internet 101 is in session. No need to silence your cell.

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In the past few years, society has finally come up with a word for a male sl*t: a f*ckboy! In case you don't know this slang, a f*ckboy is a male who is strictly into sexual relationships facilitated by manipulation. You know, the kind of shallow guy who sends unprompted pictures of his genitals. He is typically seen with "his boys" because bros come before h*es. A f*ckboy will tell you that "you're not like the other girls"; this is supposed to be a compliment because he doesn't have any respect for other girls. Quick, (before he ghosts you), let me know if this boy sounds familiar!

Well, ladies and gents, we have a new monster on our hands. Or, rather, the same monster in a sheepskin disguise: the softboy!

The softboy Internet craze is a new trend, created as a seeming pendulum swing from the overt dirt-baggery of the infamous f*ckboy. Finally, American culture has a backlash against obvious jerks! …Only to be replaced by the same guy, but this time, in Doc Martins.

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They are imitations of the adorkable, lanky white boys of the month on Twitter such as Noah Centineo, Cole Sprouse, Timothee Chalamet, and Troye Sivan – the guys who are not afraid to express their feminine side in their emotional art. Young people adore them for their androgynous beauty and progressive sweetness. In turn, normal guys impersonate these famous people in hopes of receiving that same adoration from women.

However, what these imitators, these softboys, lack is the authenticity of the guys they're trying hard to look like. It's a façade to get in others' pants. He regurgitates whatever you want to hear and will use that to sleep with you before he moves on to "deal with his journey as a flaneur". Whether you're dealing with a f*ckboy or a softboy, they're both manipulating others based on what they think they like. And manipulation is wrong.

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Let me argue further, whereas an out-and-proud f*ckboy will wear a tank-top and listen to SoundCloud rappers, the softboy prefers a thrifted sweater while listening to indie music and calling all other tunes "trash". You know, because he is sensitive.

Whereas a f*ckboy half-jokes about being a meninist, the softboy respects women too much to pay for anything, ever. He calls himself a feminist, utilizing the label to his advantage. The softboy knows he's not going to make any girl swoon by being a total misogynist, so he plays the antithesis. But as soon as the situation gets ugly, he will show his real philosophy, with his patronizing voice calling you a derogatory name when something doesn't go his way.

Everything a softboy does is a ploy, (so convincing, that he may even believe these things about himself). He completes this performance to demonstrate to you that he's the good note in the noise. And that's why you have to be wary of him.

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